Premier Wynne must demand resignation of minister behind disastrous SAMS fiasco: NDP

NDP MPP Catherine Fife called on Premier Wynne to both admit she failed vulnerable citizens and front-line workers across the province, and demand the resignation of her Minister for Community and Social Services, Helena Jaczek, following the Liberal government’s disastrous rollout of the Social Assistance Management System (SAMS).  

“Over the last few days we’ve learned that the people of Ontario will once again be forced to pay for this government’s incompetence when it comes to the SAMS file,” said Fife, MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo. “The disastrous implementation of SAMS hurt some of the most vulnerable people in this province.”

Following a scathing Auditor General report that highlight serious concerns around consultants overseeing consultants, the Premier has now decided to hire the same consultants to fix the issues they got wrong in the first place, and to pay them an extra $32 million dollars.

NDP demands Premier take immediate action on “Katelynn’s principle”

Today during Question Period, Monique Taylor, the Ontario NDP’s critic for Children and Youth Services, demanded Premier Wynne  keep her word to change the child welfare system, and take immediate action on the Katelynn  Sampson inquest’s core recommendation, “Katelynn’s principle." 

“On Friday, the inquest into Katelynn Sampson’s death led to 173 recommendations.  The most important was to overhaul the child welfare, judicial and education systems to hear and value children’s voices and wishes,” said Taylor, MPP for Hamilton Mountain. 

“As the judge in the initial case stated, ‘alarm bells were ringing but no one was responding.’  Will the Premier do the right thing and immediately implement Katelynn’s principle, the core recommendation of the inquest?” asked Taylor.  

Eight years ago, seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson was murdered by two caregivers who previously had children removed from them by the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).  Taylor recounted  that on a note written before she was found, Katelynn had written 62 times, “I am A awful girl that’s why know one wants me.” 

“It is undeniable that Katelynn was failed in every possible way during her short life,” Taylor said. “She was failed by a broken system that didn’t properly protect our most vulnerable children.  A system that didn’t respond when half a dozen calls concerning Katelynn in the months before her death were made.”


Liberal government’s heavily-redacted SIU report betrays Wynne’s transparency claims: NDP

Following endless promises to make government more transparent, the Wynne government’s release of a heavily-redacted SIU report on the shooting death of Andrew Loku not only does a disservice to the family of Mr. Loku, but to public trust in the administration of justice and our justice system, said Jagmeet Singh, Ontario NDP Attorney General critic and Deputy Leader. 

“First, the Attorney General took 30 days to read a report that only she could read. Then, while the Premier made some promising remarks about perhaps releasing this report, the Attorney General said ‘no’ four times in response to media questions about the release of this report,” said Singh. “Now, finally, when the government releases the report, they release it late on a Friday. They release only ten out of 34 pages — and one of those ten pages is blank. The pages that are released are heavily-redacted.”

Singh said that while New Democrats welcome the appointment of the Honourable Michael Tulloch to lead an independent review of agencies that oversee police conduct in Ontario, it does not address the Liberal government’s utter failure to deliver the transparency they’ve promised Ontarians. 

Liberals won’t rule out Scarborough TTC fare hike

In the wake of revelations that the government is looking at increased TTC fares for non-downtown residents, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Liberal government to protect fair and equal access to transit. Today, the Liberal government refused to rule out TTC fare increases for Scarborough, North York, Etobicoke and other non-downtown residents, or other unfair transit fares. 

“If the Liberals go ahead with this plan, people in Scarborough might get a subway only to find out they can only afford the bus,” said Horwath. “Throughout its history, TTC fares in Toronto have been based on the simple principle that every Torontonian deserves equal access to their transit system, regardless of their income and regardless of where they live. I’m calling on the Liberal government to promise that people won’t be punished with higher fares, just because they can’t afford to live downtown.” 


NDP demands Wynne government listen to Northern cities and stop gas price gouging

Today during Question Period, Gilles Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay, demanded the Wynne government listen to Northern municipalities and their call for the provincial government to rein in fluctuating gasoline prices in Ontario.

About a week ago, there was a 26-cent-per-litre difference on the price of gas from southern to northern Ontario. Within northern Ontario, there was a 10-cent-per-litre difference between Kirkland Lake and Timmins,” Bisson said.

“When is this minister and this government going to get on side and do what we’ve been asking, and what municipalities across the North have been asking; that is, to either get these gas companies to stop gouging the public or, if not, regulate the price of gas?


Wynne government cuts to hospitals hurting patients in Scarborough and across Ontario: NDP

Today, Ontario NDP health critic, France Gélinas, issued the following statement in response to the Liberal government’s announcement regarding the final report of the Scarborough/West Durham Panel: 

“Families in Scarborough know that today’s announcement by the Wynne government does not change the fact that the Liberals are cutting hospital care across Ontario and forcing patients to pay the price.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on the National Day Of Mourning

I’m honoured to stand in this House today and speak on behalf of the Ontario NDP caucus, as New Democrats join with workers across Ontario to mark the National Day of Mourning.

Today, we stand with friends and families to remember those who have been injured, maimed or killed on the job.

We all have a responsibility to make sure that when the workday ends, every worker makes it home safely.

In Ontario every year, hundreds of people are killed on the job, thousands are injured, and countless more people have to deal with complications due to work-related environmental illnesses and trauma that they experience on the job. There is an epidemic of injuries and death in the workplaces of this province, particularly facing young workers who are just starting out in their lives and begin their time in the workforce with a tragedy that ends in either loss of life or significant problems that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.


Ontarians can’t keep up with Hydro increases

Ontarians are using less electricity, but for the eighth year in a row, people will see the cost of hydro increase by more than nine percent. Today, Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns, MPP Toronto-Danforth, called on the Liberal government to get hydro costs under control, and start putting the needs of people and Ontario businesses ahead of private power companies. 

“When Ontarians use less energy, the should pay less. People are doing their part; it’s time for the Liberals to do their part,” said Tabuns. “The Liberals are putting the interests of private power donors ahead of families and businesses. Instead of getting results for families and small businesses, the Minister is signing more high-cost private power contracts that help Liberal donors. 

Hydro bills in Ontario are projected to increase by more than nine percent which is faster than inflation and faster than average wage growth. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce reported that one in 20 Ontario businesses may close due to high energy costs in the next five years.

“Ontarians and Ontario businesses can’t keep up with skyrocketing hydro rates. Instead of dealing with the problem, the Minister is making it even worse. If people think the bad decisions by the Liberals are costing them now, just wait until the new private shareholders at Hydro One start demanding bigger profit margins,” said Tabuns. 

Liberal government refuses NDP call for the release of the report into the shooting death of Andrew Loku

Ontario NDP Attorney General critic and Deputy Leader, Jagmeet Singh, called on Premier Wynne to commit to publicly releasing the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) report on the investigation into the shooting death of Andrew Loku by police. 

“For the sake of public confidence in Ontario’s oversight of police, it is essential to have details on how the SIU conducted this investigation, how it handled evidence and other background information,” explained Singh, MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton.

A formal investigation by the SIU into the death of Andrew Loku, a 45-year-old father of five from South Sudan shot by police in Toronto last summer, was finished a month ago.

Liberals ignoring expert advice not to abandon children with autism: NDP

Today during Question Period, Ontario NDP Children and Youth Services Critic, Monique Taylor, demanded to know why the Wynne government is taking away essential treatment for children with autism, after a warning from experts today who said that would violate the code of ethics of board certified behavioural analysts (BCBA).

“Today, a group of experts released a letter outlining concerns with the government’s recent decision to remove children from intensive therapy.  It states, ‘abandonment of our clients is in serious violation of the BCBA code of ethics,’” Taylor said.  

Even the Minster’s own report doesn’t suggest kicking kids five and over off the waiting list.  And it doesn’t say that IBI is ineffective over the age of five, as much as she insinuates that it does. It doesn’t.”

Liberals dig in their heels, vote down plan for non-partisan campaign finance reform

Today, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal Government voted down a  motion, put forward by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, that would have established a fast-moving, non-partisan panel of experts, academics, business leaders, labour and Ontarians to help write the rules that govern political party financing in this province.

“Ontarians deserve to know that their voice matters. That’s why New Democrats believe we need to get the influence of big money out of government and politics in Ontario,” said Horwath.  “We believe it shouldn’t be up to one political party, or any single political leader, to make the rules for 14 million Ontarians. By voting down our motion today, Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal Government dug in their heels and showed that they’re determined to take a partisan approach to writing election rules.” 

Horwath’s motion called on the government to establish an Ontario Advisory Panel on Political Finance Reform and Electoral Participation. The panel would include an equal number of members from the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Green Party, as well as members from broader civil society. The panel would have a non-partisan chair, and the process would be guided by Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer.

NDP demands Liberal government commit to concrete actions to close the gender pay gap in Ontario

Ontario NDP Women’s Issues critic, Peggy Sattler, called on the Liberal government to take concrete actions to close the gender pay gap in Ontario. 

“Women in Ontario have waited too long for the Premier to make the changes that are necessary to close the gap,” said Sattler, MPP for London West. “The Premier has ignored the actions that can be taken right now, like child care funding and enforcing labour laws.”

In 2008, the Equal Pay Coalition released detailed recommendations on how to eliminate the gender wage gap by 2025. Eight years later, women in Ontario continue to make 30% less than men for the same work. 

Liberals should come clean about taking away autism services for children: NDP

During Question Period today, Monique Taylor, the Ontario NDP’s critic for children and youth services, challenged the Liberal government to provide the information it is using to justify kicking children with ASD, 5 years and older, off of lists for essential therapy. 

“When it comes to our most vulnerable kids, you would think government members would at least understand the devastating impact of their decisions. The Minister claims that, in the name of science, she had to remove children five and over from the list.  That’s simply not true,” Taylor said. 

“Can the Minister please tell me on what page the Clinical Expert Committee recommends kicking children with ASD over 5 off the list?”

Early studies showing major flaws in Liberal government’s UP Express plan were ignored and buried: NDP

In the legislature this morning, NDP Urban Transit critic, Cheri DiNovo, demanded the Liberal government explain why it ignored, then tried to bury, seven studies that showed the government’s flawed model for the Union Pearson Express would actually lose money.

“In 2010, the Premier, who was then the Minister of Transportation, ordered Metrolinx to take over the Union Pearson Express under the same flawed business model that had just been rejected as a money loser by the private sector,” said DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale - High Park. “Instead of building affordable public transit in this corridor, the Premier ordered Metrolinx to build a luxury airport express service."

Metrolinx ignored seven reports it commissioned in the years before the launch of the UP Express warning high fares would fail to attract enough riders. 

The reports were finally released last week following a long battle launched by Metrolinx to keep them secret. The Ontario New Democrats have been trying for years to get the UPX ridership studies, but have been blocked at every turn by Metrolinx and the Liberal government.

NDP demands Liberals commit to First Nations-run health delivery

Today during Question Period, Gilles Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay, demanded the Wynne government meet the health needs of First Nations communities like Attawapiskat, by supporting First Nations-led health care delivery.

“The real issue here is that we do not have the type of services that we need in First Nations communities that is permanent and organized in a way that is consistent with the values of First Nations people, and able to make sure that those systems meet the needs of community,” Bisson said.

“Is there a commitment on the part of your government in order to change the way that we deliver health services when it comes to mental health services, when it comes to addiction services and others, so it falls under an organization that is run and led by First Nations, so they themselves can be part of the solution?”

NDP demands Wynne government keep provincial and demonstration schools open permanently

Today during Question Period, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Lisa Gretzky, the Ontario NDP’s education critic, demanded a commitment from Premier Wynne and the Education Minister to keep provincial and demonstration schools open for the long-term. 

“For months, families and students with exceptional needs have pleaded with this government to keep their schools open.  They've organized, gathered thousands of signatures and rallied from Belleville to London. Today, hundreds join us here at Queen's park, united for one reason, the future of our provincial and demonstration schools,” Horwath said.

“Will the Premier listen to families and commit to keeping these schools open long-term or turn her back on our most vulnerable children?”

Hundreds of parents and families from across the province were at Queen’s Park today to demand the Wynne government keep their children’s schools open.  Gretzky will be presenting a motion to the legislature this afternoon calling for a government commitment to keep the provincial and demonstration schools open.

NDP demands Premier answer for worsening crisis in Ontario hospitals

France Gélinas, the Ontario NDP’s health critic, demanded Premier Wynne answer for the Liberal government’s continued cuts to hospital care, following the release of an Ontario Health Coalition report that shows the province’s hospitals are facing a deepening crisis.

“Under this Premier’s watch, the crisis of cuts inside our hospitals is only getting worse.  Hundreds of nurses and frontline health care workers laid-off. Beds closed. And rural communities forced to fight just to keep the doors open and the lights on in their local hospitals,” Gélinas said.

“Why is this Premier so determined to keep cutting hospital care?”

Advocates for public health care released a new report this morning that lays out, in painstaking detail, the full-extent of Liberal cuts to Ontario’s hospitals. The report, Beyond Limits: Ontario’s Deepening Hospital Cuts Crisis, confirms what patients are seeing across Ontario.

Liberal budget fails Ontario families desperate for child care: NDP

Today in the legislature, NDP Education critic, Lisa Gretzky, asked the Minister of Education why, in 2016, the Liberal government still does not have a child care policy. 

“As we know, the 2016 budget again squandered the Liberal government’s chance to be a leader on child care. Worst of all, its new child care regulations put our youngest children with much older children and fewer staff,” said Gretzky, MPP for Windsor West. “Apparently, this government believes that a 12-month-old child is a toddler. The Premier and her government are failing families in Ontario.”